Janet is available for print, radio or television interviews and can visit about ....
* her historical novels, set in fifteenth century England during the "Gypsy honeymoon" period
* her road to publication
* how to write the book of your heart
* how movies can teach you how to write, and how not to write
* the ideal writer's retreat - tailor it to your writing needs
Janet Lane, whose Five Star Expressions novels have reached the Denver best-seller lists, is a native of Nebraska and Iowa, Janet wrote feature articles for The Sioux City Journal, and hosted an on-air community news program at KTIV-TV, Channel 4 in Sioux City, also serving as their Promotion and Public Service Director. She later served as Promotion Director for KMTV-TV, Channel 3 in Omaha and served as an eight-state promotion representative for NBC-TV. After moving to Denver, she wrote and served as Special Sections Editor for Network, the Magazine for Colorado Women.
Janet currently writes a monthly column on the writing life for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's monthly newsletter and presents workshops on the craft of writing.
Janet's novels, left to right: Emerald Silk, May, 2008; Tabor's Trinket, Nov., 2006; Tales from Mistwillow, September, 2007 and Broken Links, Mended Lives, September, 2009 - (for which she served as editor), just named a finalist in the 2010 Colorado Book Award!
BOOK CLUBS -
Janet enjoys attending and speaking at book club meetings. She can share her writer's journey to publication, talk about the story behind her novels, what inspired her, and share her dreams and experiences with publishers and agents. Please contact her at janet at janetlane.net
WORKSHOPS - Janet has presented at RMFW's Colo. Gold conference, and at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her workshops include "Set Your Characters Free," "Scene-sational!" and "Editor/Agt. Appointment Cram Course" and can present on many aspects of writing, both fiction and non-fiction.
Love Romances Interview
June, 2008 by Lil
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm a suburban wife and mom of two fabulous college-age daughters. In addition to my love of writing, I have a home-based direct mail business and in my spare time I enjoy snow skiing, tennis, bicycling and gardening. I have a love-hate relationship with our rabbits, who decimated my tulips this spring before they could bloom. I direct our annual community musical production, and love sewing costumes for the shows.
You have certainly experimented with some interesting jobs. What led you to writing?
Miss Chesebro, my tenth grade English teacher, encouraged me to pursue writing. I have always been drawn to the written word.
The first book in your Coin Forest series was Tabor's Trinket. It is a beautiful romance and introduces us to your Gypsy adventures. What drew you to write about Gypsies?
Thank you so much! I'm deeply pleased to know you enjoyed Sharai's story. My first novel, Red Plume, was a time travel in which my heroine traveled to the fifteenth century. I had an "almost" agent who loved my work and she told me my writing really came alive when she was transported back to that time period. During extensive research in that time period, I discovered the Gypsies. Haunted by a medieval flier advertising a young Gypsy girl for sale – a deal, at just nine pounds and fifteen solidi – I discovered Sharai, my heroine.
From what you have learned, can you tell us why they wander instead of settling down in one place?
Over their thousand-year history, Gypsies/Roma have traveled to escape oppression and slavery. They traveled in response to being evicted by local authorities, and to earn a living. I have come to think of my character, Count Aydin, as a versatile entrepreneur. He traveled to England, discovered a new market, conducted "focus group" studies, and developed the tribe's products and services: selling horses, coppersmithing, whittling wooden clothes pegs, entertaining, fortune-telling. Then when they wintered over in France he protected his market by swearing the tribe to secrecy about the lucrative English fairs.
How long did it take from the crystallization of your initial story concept to becoming published?
From start to finish, it took ten months to write Emerald Silk, although much of the research was done during the writing of Tabor's Trinket, the first book of the Coin Forest series. The final edits didn't occur until I sold the novel, three years after writing "The End."
Tell us about your reaction when you got "The Call" and sold your first manuscript. How did you celebrate?
I levitated. :-) Seriously, editor Deni Dietz' enthusiasm for my Gypsies was intoxicating, and getting The Call (an email, actually) was fabulous. It's like no other feeling, and I wish it could happen to everyone on the planet - we would be so light, globally, there would be no more wars and we would dance in our orbit. :-)
Emerald Silk seems to delve even more solidly into prejudice than what we saw in your previous book. Was the conflict easier or harder to write than in Sharai and Lord Tabor's story?
It was more difficult because of John Wynter's deep fear and hostility toward Gypsies. How do you kiss someone you hate? That was a huge challenge, and their first kiss practically melted my keyboard!
Do you tend to outline your stories or do you allow your characters to take you where they will? Have they ever surprised you?
Kadriya's aggression during that first kiss surprised me. I understood it later, the frustration, the indignation, the outrage. She stepped over the edge, and I didn't need to push her. The magic of writing! And yes, I do character studies and plot using Laura Baker and Robin Perini's Story Magic plotting method, then add my own extras so I never have to run out of plot. The story takes its own life and I rewrite my synopsis perhaps three or four times, however.
We hear of authors speak of periods with silent muses. Have you ever suffered the frustrations of writer's block and how did you get past it?
The worst writer's block I experienced was writing the sequel to Red Plume. The novel remains unfinished on my shelf. That was my experiment at "Pantsing" - plotting by the seat of my pants. I suffered a bad case of rug burn and became permanently blocked at chapter fourteen. I have plotted and written a synopsis for every subsequent novel.
What are some of the most interesting facts that you came across in research for your books?
Oh , I could go on and on! Though the Gypsies prefer to be called Rom/Roma/Romani, they are not from Romania. They are an ethnic group. They originally claimed to have come from Egypt, so were called Egyptians, which became shortened to Gypsies. They came from India almost a thousand years ago, and retain their distinct language to this day. There are currently 10-12 million Gypsies, living all over the world. A note about fashion: the Gypsy women's long skirts helped prevent being raped. And the way to say, "I love you" in Romani is, "Kahm-ov-TOOT."
You write historical romance. Are there any other genres which you are tempted to explore?
I also write contemporary women's fiction. I am currently marketing three completed novels, hoping for agent and/or editor discovery.
Can you share a bit about your current work-in-progress?
I am in the process of plotting book three in the Coin Forest series. Legend of Coin Forest is about Stephen, Sharai and Lord Tabor's son. Providing my muse continues to grace my pen, it will be a novel of passion and fear, legends and superstitions.
What is your favorite thing about this career? Least favorite?
My most favorite parts of writing are traveling to new worlds, ancient worlds, glamorous locations, living in new skin. The indescribable joy of watching stories flow out of the keyboard, out of the heart, soul. The self-knowledge gleaned from the journey. The least favorite aspect is eking out a living to allow for sufficient time and mental freedom to pursue such pleasures. If we could all be so fortunate as Nora or J. K. Rowling!
What's in your to-be-read pile? On your keeper shelf?
I'm currently reading my CP, Robin Owens' novel, Keepers of the Flame and my Sony Handycam instruction manual because I'm trying to upload my Singing Synopsis (from my book signing) onto my website.
My overflowing keeper shelf includes Tina St. John's White Lion's Lady, Blue Mesa by Bonnie Smith, Chances by Pamela Nowak, Diamond in the Sky by Margaret Bailey, Desert Guardian by Karen Duvall, One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. Nonfiction motivational includes This Time I Dance by Tama Kieves, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, and three shelves of craft books. Oh, yes, and the piles of books on my side of the bed.
As I age, I like to think of myself, not as a wrinkling, wizened creature, but as a traveler, soaring through life's layers in my slightly battered space ship, a classic versus an antique. I enjoyed my visit, thank you, and thanks for the reviews and support you give this vibrant genre. I'm wishing you a pleasant voyage, filled with kindness and love.